Diggin’ In with Kathy Van Mullekom
While stuck indoors on cold winter days, gardening catalogs and all their pretty photos warm your soul and motivate your planning.
Here are three favorites I’ve used over the years:
Select Seeds. I’ve always favored plants over seeds, except when it comes to flowering vines. One year, I decided to “grow upward” because I had grown out of horizontal growing spaces. Gardening vertically with flowering vines seemed to be a natural addition to my yard. That’s when I discovered Select Seeds, a catalog that focuses on heirloom, uncommon and award-winning and pollinator-friendly seeds, as well as plants.
Among the catalog’s pages, I found seeds for the vines I wanted, including purple hyacinth bean with violet and lavender blooms and deep purple pods; cup-and-saucer vine with papery pods that open to reveal large green saucers and bell-shaped flowers; cardinal climber with red trumpet-shaped flowers; and love-in-a-puff with white hearts etched on black seeds. All of the vines were charmers in that former garden that I will always fondly remember.
- Online, you will find more than 800 seeds and plants at www.selectseeds.com
Brent and Becky’s. The world’s best-known bulb experts are right in our backyard – Brent and Becky Heath in scenic Gloucester. In addition to educational display gardens, the Heaths operate the retail Bulb Shoppe during spring and fall planting seasons. Right outside the shop, you can meander through 8 acres of themed gardens in different colors and styles, always free admission. Parents and grandparents are invited to bring children so they can find the “secret pathways.” No chemicals are used in the garden, only ample compost, so it’s safe for all big and small creatures, according to the Heaths.
Inside the most-recent catalog, you will find summer-flowering specialties like cannas, gladiolus, lilies of all kinds, dahlias, caladiums, elephant ears, anemones and more. A fall-flowering catalog offers even more, including 100s of daffodils and tulips.
The Heaths are also proud sponsors and participants in the annual Gloucester Daffodil Festival April 2-3; www.daffodilfestivalva.org
- Online, shop at www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com
Plant Delights. This catalog is typically based on some kind of relevant humor and a delight to browse — and learn from. Tony Avent is the brilliant gardener-owner behind this nursery and catalog in Raleigh, N.C. The nursery propagates most of its plants, and has a professional staff to help with selection and questions. Most of the plants are rare, unusual and North American native plants.
This year’s catalog takes on a James Bond theme that entertains you with tips like “plants are one of the few purchases which removes CO2 from the atmosphere, so killing plants on so many fronts is not desirable,” according to 007.
Always breeding and look for the best, Plant Delights offer more than 1,000 new plants. They’ve gone a little hosta crazy with the addition of 10 new ones, along with a pink-flowered/red-fruits native mayapple, hardy orchids, brightly-colored, ground-covering ajugas, Lion King iris, an 8-foot-tall canna called Two Tone Tiger and new hardy palms.
The nursery, which is open to the public, is more like a botanical garden with display gardens and a helpful staff.
- Online, shop hundreds of plants and see gorgeous display gardens at www.plantdelights.com
Got gardening questions? Email Diggin’ In at email@example.com